The New York Jets bid a familiar uniform set farewell on Thursday; ESNY remembers the good times as they prepare to make the transition.
“Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify because the players are always changing, the team can move to another city. You’re actually rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it. You know what I mean? You are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city. Fans will be so in love with a player, but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt; they hate him now. Boo! Different shirt! Boo!” -JERRY SEINFELD
In a way, Seinfeld was right in his monologue about sports. New York Jets fans will be rooting for a different shade of laundry come next season, as the team unveiled new aesthetics on Thursday night in Midtown.
With the excitement of the fresh threads, however, comes bidding farewell to the Jets’ prior uniform set, one that grew on the fanbase over two decades. The old package was an appreciated tribute to the uniform set the team won their lone Super Bowl in back in 1969. Hunter green became the color of Florham Park, as the team ditched the speedwing-decorated “Jets” script for an updated version of the prior oval logo
In a final goodbye, ESNY counts down the top 11 moments the Jets experienced in their prior set. The team and their fans certainly hope choosing the moments in the new set will be a little harder.
11. 4/26/18: Hey Darnold!
We open the best moments on a hopeful note, headlined by a guy who could dominate the next “best moments in a uniform set” piece. By the end of Sam Darnold‘s career, the Jets jersey from his rookie year could be a collector’s item. We’ve seen legends open their careers in unusual threads, like Stephen Curry and Alex Ovechkin. Darnold’s jersey could be next on that list, an unusual case of “right team, wrong jersey.”
With the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, the Jets took Darnold, the touted thrower from USC. He’d go on to earn four victories in his only year in the jersey, including a 48-17 win in his NFL debut against the Detroit Lions in a Monday night showdown to open the season.
10. 4/27/17: Inauguration Day
New York and New Jersey have produced six Presidents of the United States among them. In 2017, a seventh arrived, one with a noted a defensive background.
Jamal Adams goes by the moniker “PresidentMal” on Instagram, and his approval ratings have gone through the roof since his arrival. No one has been more outspoken about transforming the perception behind Jets football than Adams. At the same time, Adams has been an approachable prescience to his fans on Twitter, constantly reaching out and immediately improving the Jet fan blues. His contributions on and off the field have set Adams up to be the perfect new face of New York football.
9. 1/3/10: Going in Style
Ironically, the final game at Giants Stadium was a Jets victory, one they desperately needed.
Headed into the final week of the 2009-10 season, the Jets had momentum after topping the previously undefeated Indianapolis Colts. They would still need a win over the Cincinnati Bengals to seal a playoff spot, one that would be earned in a Week 17 game flexed to prime time. The Jets bid the stadium farewell the right way, crushing the Bengals 37-0. A rushing trio of Brad Smith, Thomas Jones, and Shonn Greene led the way offensively, earning a combined 232 yards and three touchdowns amongst them. On defense, the Jets limited the Bengals to five first downs and 72 total yards.
Despite the win, some still doubted the Jets’ playoff status, as both the Colts and Bengals wins were earned with both opponents playing their backups. The Jets put those qualms to rest less than a week later. Facing the same Bengals on Wild Card Saturday, the Jets took home a 24-14 victory at Paul Brown Stadium. It was their first playoff victory since 2005.
8. 9/11/11: And THAT ... is Dallas
The Jets’ quest for three consecutive AFC title games went for naught, but the journey began on the highest of notes.
The opening slate of 2011 games coincided with the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Week 1 concluded with the Jets taking on the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in Sunday night thriller.
Dallas led for a majority of the game, creating a 24-10 in the early stages of the fourth quarter. After the Jets responded quickly, in the form of a 26-yard scoring hookup between Mark Sanchez and Plaxico Burress, running back Joe McKnight blocked a Mat McBriar punt. Defensive back Isaiah Trufant took it back for a tying score.
The table of victory was soon set by Darrelle Revis, who stepped in front of a Tony Romo pass intended for Dez Bryant to set the Jets up in Dallas territory. Ex-Cowboy Nick Folk provided the winning margin, a 50-yard field goal that capped off an emotional day on a joyful note.
7. 12/29/02: Packed Playoff Push
The Jets’ last division title came at the end of the 2002 season, one that began with a dubious 1-4 start. Once Chad Pennington was given the reins of the offense, the Jets began an unlikely playoff push, one that concluded with a visit from the Green Bay Packers in Week 17.
Facing a win or go home situation, the Jets completely demolished a Packers team that was playing for a first-round bye on the NFC side. The first half scoreboard told an interesting story, with the Packers down by just four after Brett Favre touchdown pass to Terry Glenn. To say the Jets made halftime adjustments could the understatement of the 2002 season.
A barrage of 21 unanswered points awaited the Packers out of the halftime locker room. Two of those scores came from the arm of Pennington, accounting for half of his touchdown throws on the day. On defense, Brett Favre was limited to 173 yards on 16 completions and was also intercepted by Sam Garnes.
6. 1/17/10: Stay Classy
The aforementioned victories over the Bengals situated the Jets in a divisional round battle against the San Diego Chargers. Despite head coach Rex Ryan’s confidence in his squad, reasoning that they should’ve been the “favorites” in the NFL postseason, the Jets were nine-point underdogs headed into Sandi. That, of course, is why they don’t play the games the minds of oddsmakers.
New York’s defense brought over plenty of east coast grit, holding an offense boasting the talents of Phillip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson in check. A pair of third-quarter interceptions from Revis and Jim Leonhard prevented San Diego from building on a 7-3 lead. Tomlinson managed only 24 yards on 12 carries. In spite of the Jets’ offensive struggles, Shonn Greene managed to provide the necessary separation to the tune of 128 yards, 53 of which came on a scoring run that more or less sealed San Diego’s fate in the fourth.
The Jets would fall in a rematch with the Colts in the AFC title game in the ensuing week, but the victory over the Chargers in Ryan’s first year put the league on watch, teasing Jets fans of potential good times to comes … even if they failed to be truly sustainable.
5. 9/30/00: Wayne's World
One of the most popular jerseys when the Jets last changed up their wardrobe was the #19 shirt of Keyshawn Johnson. A flashy receiver who was never afraid to run his mouth, Johnson spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets before he was dealt to Tampa Bay for a pair of first-round picks.
The Jets didn’t have to wait long for a reunion with Johnson, as the Jets battled the Buccaneers in Tampa five months after the trade. In Johnson’s departure, Wayne Chrebet took over as the leader of the Jets’ offense. Chrebet was in the process of making a decent career for himself after humble beginnings at Hofstra. That didn’t impress Johnson much, as he scoffed at the notion that Chrebet was on his level, remarking in the lead-up that such a discussion “would be like comparing a flashlight to a star.”
That Sunday, a star was born.
Johnson was just two minutes away from getting the last laugh, with his Buccaneers up 17-6. Even a Curtis Martin touchdown reception gained shortly after the seemed to be irrelevant, as Tampa Bay seemed poised to run the clock out after getting the ball back. However, the Jets were given new life when Victor Green recovered a Mike Alstott fumble caused by Marvin Jones. Two plays later, trickery gave the Jets an unlikely win, as Martin took a handoff from Vinny Testaverde to launch an 18-yard scoring pass for the win, caught by Chrebet, the barehanded wonder.
In a final bit of ironic karma, John Abraham, one of the players the Jets chose with the Johnson picks, helped prevent a Tampa Bay response. With the ball back at the 52-second mark, Abraham sacked and forced a fumble from quarterback Shaun King, which Bryan Cox recovered to end things on that note. King had targeted Johnson five times in the game, but found him only for a single reception tallying a mere yard.
4. 1/4/03: Indianap0lis C0lts
Things were different the last time the Jets hosted a playoff a game. MetLife Stadium was just a parking lot. The Falcons won Michael Vick‘s first playoff game later in the evening. The Sopranos had just wrapped up its fourth season, and series star Jamie-Lynn Sigler sang the national anthem. The end result is still one many Jets fans still cherish to this day.
Going up against a vaunted Colts squad headlined by Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, and Marvin Harrison, the Jets knew they’d have to keep the scorekeeper busy if they were going to keep pace. That turned out to be the least of their worries, as they scored on all but two of their full possessions. Pennington threw three touchdown passes, and LaMont Jordan picked up 102 yards and two scores.
Defensively, the Jets snuffed out production from the vaunted Midwestern triumvirate. In addition to two interceptions, Manning threw for 137 yards, 47 of which went to Harrison. James was stifled further, to the tune of 14 yards on nine carries.
“I remember how loud the fans were, how great of a feeling it was to great that playoff victory,” Jordan told ESNY in an exclusive interview. “To be on a field with Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison … to have a home game, to win that home game, to dominate that team the way we dominated, I just remember the fanbase.”
3. 12/27/98: AFC Beasts
The first stanza of the rebooted uniforms started with typical Jets heartbreak, namely a 98-yard overtime run by Garrison Hearst that ended the opener in San Francisco. At 2-3 after five games, the Jets appeared destined for also-ran status for yet another season. But, foreshadowing the Pennington takeover, Testaverde was allowed control, and it worked out for the better.
After a 2-3 start, primarily earned with Week 1 starter Glenn Foley, the Jets embarked on a 10-1 stretch to end the season. That streak included six wins against playoff teams. One of those wins came against the future NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, but the last victory was the sweetest of all.
The Jets sweeping the New England Patriots sounds taboo in the year 2019, but it was a reality in the dying days of the 20th century. After starting their victorious finish with a 24-14 October win in Massachusetts, the Jets crushed the Patriots in their regular season finale by a 31-10 finish. Ex-Patriot Curtis Martin torched his former employers for 102 yards and a receiving touchdown, while four of Testaverde’s 17 completions went for scores. On defense, the Jets allowed a mere nine first downs. The victory clinched the Jets’ first division title since 1969, the final year of the AFL.
That 1998 season still marks the last time the Jets were afforded a wild-card skip via a bye. They would earn a 34-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars before bowing out to Denver destiny in the AFC title game, despite holding a 10-0 lead in the third quarter.
2. 10/23/00: Miami Monstrosity Turned Miracle
In another situation made unfamiliar by the rise of the Patriots, a matchup between the Jets and Miami Dolphins used to decide eastern supremacy. Such was the case when an October showdown in 2000 appeared on the Monday night slate, the pair each boasting 5-1 marks.
Jets fans were destined for an early bedtime after Miami jumped out to a 17-0 lead after the first quarter. That lead summited at 30-7 entering the final frame, but sleeping fans in the tri-state wound up missing the so-called Monday Night Miracle.
To the tune of 23 unanswered points, the Jets tied the game. Miami seemed to get things back under control with a 46-yard touchdown for Leslie Shepherd, but Jets trickery sent the game into overtime, as offensive lineman Jumbo Elliott scored on a tackle-eligible passing play with 42 seconds left to send the affair into overtime.
The Dolphins won the overtime coin toss, often a death sentence in the NFL. But a Marcus Coleman interception of Jay Fiedler put the Jets in business. Set up nicely with a 28-yard hookup between Testaverde and Chrebet, the Jets won the game by a 40-37 final thanks to a 40-yard triple from John Hall.
1. 1/16/11: Boston Green Party
The Jets certainly hope the new threads will bring forth a change of fortune against the Patriots. New England went 32-12 against the Patriots in their prior set, but earned one of the most cherished memories in franchise history on a cold night at Gillette Stadium. In the AFC Divisional playoffs, the Jets topped the mighty Patriots 28-21.
To this day, the 2010-11 Jets remain the last team to keep the Patriots out of the AFC Championship round. They once earned their own finalist title with a stifling defensive effort, as David Harris intercepted a Tom Brady pass deep in Jets territory and earned 12 tackles. Brady was also sacked five times, twice by Shaun Ellis.
However, credit had to be likewise turned to Mark Sanchez and the Jets’ offense, as the sophomore thrower earned three touchdown passes, including a seven-yard strike to Santonio Holmes that broke New England’s will early in the fourth quarter. A long scoring run by Greene played a part for the second consecutive season, as his 20-yard touchdown shortly after the two-minute warning served as both a sealer and insurance score.